? EDITOR ’ S QUESTION //
THE ISSUES EXTEND TO MANAGING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS AS WELL , WITH
ACQUIRING NEW CUSTOMERS ONE OF THE
GREAT BARRIERS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES .
C ustomer Relationship Management ( CRM ) software plays a critical role in helping small businesses successfully manage relationships with their customers . It helps improve service efficiency , aid collaboration and helps give businesses reliable insights into customers ’ behaviour . But before buying a CRM solution there are some important considerations .
For many years , businesses have been purchasing ‘ best-of-breed ’ business systems for every function of their organisation – such as CRM for customer service , accounting software for the finance team or an inventory management system for the warehouse team . It makes sense at first because this approach solves the most immediate challenges .
But then businesses are left with the complexity and cost of managing multiple standalone systems . The result ? Headaches for the different functions , and for senior leadership who want to cast an eye over the whole business .
The issues extend to managing customer relationships as well , with acquiring new customers one of the great barriers for small businesses . Hot products and innovative marketing can go a long way , but outdated , disconnected and dirty data on existing customers can create issues – not only holding on to existing customers – but also finding new ones .
With CRM data spread across sales spreadsheets , standalone financial systems and other applications , there is no way to know which data is most current , accurate and reliable . Customer abandonment figures rise as potential customers look to other companies that understand their entire experience across order history , billing and customer service .
When used in the context of wider business management or enterprise resource planning ( ERP ) software , an integrated CRM system helps provide a single , usable repository of key customer data . Although different parts of the organisation use CRM in different ways , everybody can potentially benefit from having access to one central place to access all the available details on customers and prospects .
Integrated CRM helps a business manage the complete customer lifecycle – from lead all the way through opportunity , quote , sales order , fulfilment , renewal , upsell and support . For many small businesses seeking growth , it ’ s time to look at CRM as one cog in the overall business management machine .
SMALL BUSINESSES SEEKING GROWTH , IT ’ S TIME TO LOOK AT CRM AS ONE COG IN THE OVERALL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT MACHINE .
DAVE ROSENBERG , HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND PRIVATE EQUITY , EMEA , ORACLE NETSUITE
Intelligent SME . tech